Samoa’s plans to improve the gender balance in its parliament have been applauded by Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles.
Mr Marles also noted the high proportion of Samoan women in senior public sector, NGO and business positions.
"It is great to see a society and government actively supporting the empowerment of women," said Mr Marles.
The Parliamentary Secretary led a bipartisan delegation to Samoa comprising Deputy Leader of the Opposition Julie Bishop, Coalition MP Teresa Gambaro, Government MP Bernie Ripoll and Australia’s Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, Penny Williams.
The delegation met Samoa’s two current female MPs and other prominent women during the visit.
In meetings with Prime Minister Tuilaepa and opposition MPs, delegation members underlined Australia’s strong commitment to close relations with Samoa.
Mr Marles signed a memorandum of understanding with Prime Minister Tuilaepa enabling Samoa’s participation in Australia’s Pacific seasonal worker program. This follows Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement in September that Samoa had been invited to join the program.
"This program provides opportunities for both men and women to participate. Women have made a valuable contribution to the success of the scheme through their work in the horticulture industry," said Mr Marles.
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